paraSITE proposes the appropriation of the exterior ventilation systems on existing architecture as a means for providing temporary shelter for homeless people. Custom built inflatable shelters designed for homeless people attach to the exterior outtake vents of a building’s HVAC system. The warm air leaving the building simultaneously inflates and heats the double membrane structure. Shelters were built and distributed to over 30 homeless people in Boston and Cambridge, MA and New York City.
pictured above: Joe H. using his paraSITE shelter in February 2000. Joe is a homeless man who lived on the streets near Battery Park City in Manhattan. In the 1970s, he became a contractor and was responsible for building over fifteen buildings in Brooklyn. He was diagnosed with cancer in the 1980s after being exposed to Agent Orange while serving in the Air Force in Vietnam. After forty-seven different operations to treat the cancer, the Veteran’s Association of America ceased paying his medical bills and he went bankrupt.